Training from the soul
This blog post I have been debating on for a while whether to share or not, because some of the information is quite personal in nature and means a lot to me and I wondered whether it would have any value to other people beyond me, but decided to go ahead anyway.
This week my role as a corporate trainer took me to Vilnius in Lithuania and if you haven’t been there yet, i would highly recommend it. The city has a really cosy feel to it and yet a lot of beauty in architecture as well as contrast and people that are friendly in a quiet non-intrusive kind of way. The course this week was for managers and developing their leadership skills. One of the topics is learning about giving feedback in a constructive manner and we started discussing that positive feedback was just as essential as the constructive variety.
Actually studies on human relationships have told us that for each negative comment we need to re-balance it with minimum 5 positives comments. The group discussion turned to the fact that in their country it had not been seen to be a good thing if you were praising people, on the contrary in order to prove yourself as a manager you had to be tough, demanding and critical and praise was nearly considered a sign of weakness. I thought about the group exercise i had planned and decided on the spur of the moment to change it to having each manager give positive feedback to each and every individual in the room. Once the exercise got underway i decided to take part as well, which as a trainer I rarely do. I am usually the orchestrator and facilitator of exercises.
The experience of this exercise was amazing, if you ever doubt whether you make any difference at all in a corporate setting then I have to say this exercise is worth doing and participating in. One comment struck a chord to such an extent with me that I was close to tears of gratitude on the spot, namely that the person so enjoyed my training because it came from the soul. She believed and trusted that my advice for them was coming from a caring and heartfelt place.
You know in all the 10 or more years that I deliver training, consulting and coaching for corporate environments, this is the first time ever a participants touched me with a compliment so deeply. The truth is I do my best to always come from a caring place and aim to give them skills and perspectives on how to deal with their challenges. My intention is always to help them reach their next level of potential, whatever that is.
The comment is still resonating soo much with me… it truly is what I always intend for but I personally wasn’t sure I delvered this at all and often the corporate systems and interaction cloud any kind of truthful judgement about your effect on people.
As an internal trainer this meant a lot and it shows to me how in corporate environments we often forget to say the essentials, so people actually realise they are an important cog in the bigger wheel. No matter how small the contribution or change influence you may have, it may just mean the world to that one person. To give has always been easy for me, to receive I am still improving on and i have to say this group brought it home to me to accept the heartfelt praise and store it where it belongs in my heart, because sometimes the trainer needs topping up too. For a long time, I have intended to train, coach and advise from the soul… thank you so much for acknowledging and noticing.
The atmosphere in the room after we closed the exercise was amazing, a gentle and positive energy had entered replacing the neutral business like one from half an hour before. When we discussed what had happened one of the guys compared it to being at a funeral where only nice things are said about a dead person but he also agreed whilst it felt a bit odd, it was all good all the same.
All of us including me realised that we obviously hadn’t been praised in this kind of way in a long time, so why not set ourselves the challenge of 1 positive praise for someone every day for the remainder of the month of April. Then one of the participants asked but what do we do then in May, to which I replied well if it feels good just keep doing it….
Thank you to all the participants in Vilnius because that experience was special and for all of you reading this I have to encourage you to join us in our challenge… 1 person per day with heartfelt positive feedback…
Are you in?